I Took Away’s Debut Outdoor Bags To The Blue Ridge

We know — everyone and their cousin seems to be in Europe this summer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go on a sneaky little rendezvous yourself to bookend the dog days of summer. If not overseas on the Med sipping aperol spritzes, then why not an outdoorsy adventure in the backcountry or exploring a National Park?

Luggage purveyor Away — which you may recognize from its modern hard-shell rolling suitcases and carry-ons in cool color variations — is evolving into the next chapter of its passport. Tapping into more outdoor-focused gear, the travel brand’s newly launched collection marks a pivotal expansion amongst a rapidly growing post-pandemic travel market.

Thoughtfully designed and color game strong, F.A.R – For All Routes is here to rethink adventure baggage. With technical performance, style and functionality, Away sustains its signature modern design aesthetic, but brings a fresh perspective to the utilitarian category, offering its own take on outdoor essentials through a more versatile travel lens.

F.A.R’s assortment of nine all-new outdoor bags and accessories nudges the restless traveler within to get back “out there” and explore the outside world. Each unstructured silhouette is designed to make travel more seamless, and not just for flying or driving. Think bags to take horseback riding, mountain biking, to an archery course, yoga retreat, ATVing, ziplining or paddleboarding. They’re water-resistant, as well — in case of unexpected puddles, or you know, when your rowdy buddy decides to go to Splash Town in the kayak next to you, your EDC essentials inside will be protected from the aquatic revelry.

So, how did Away’s new line perform? The short answer: they did a hell of a job — for the long answer, you’ll have to keep reading. Having spent time testing in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, at the Primland Resort, a 12,000-acre mountain estate (that’s nearly the size of Bermuda), I can now share more details on some standout items.

man laying on stairs with the away messenger bag and a woman standing with the away tote bag


From Flying to 4x4s

I didn’t want to let go of the F.A.R Duffle

While it is also available in 40L and 70L size options, I personally tried out the 55L Duffle for this trip. This ready-for-anything multi-day travel bag is actually pretty massive. Knowing how generous Delta is with carry-on luggage, I wasn’t too worried, but it seemed excessive packing and bringing this size bag for only a quick three-day weekender. However, the roomy design did make travel less stuffed and more seamless. The bag is available in seven vibrant hues — including Atomic Celery, Red Orange and Vivid Blue — and I felt quite stylish and sporty with the Navy, compared to most of my fellow travelers’ basic, neutral carry-ons.

The 55L duffle is considered a medium-sized bag to hold a week’s worth of gear. Made from lightweight, high-strength polyester, this bag features a unique compression system that helps to pack more in for the journey (though you won’t need it for shorter stints like mine). Convertible padded straps on the bottom of the bag allowed me to conveniently convert from duffle to backpack as I broke out into a fast-paced jog through the terminal to the gate (since I love to cut it dangerously close). Time will tell, but the material does seem quite durable — ready to be thrown onto the baggage belt or in the truckbed a countless number of times before it shows any real wear and tear.

I’ve never been a hard-shell suitcase kind of gal, so I do prefer the soft body of the duffle, but I could definitely see how other travelers may miss the structured exterior or rolling wheels of a weeklong bag. However, if they do miss the wheels, there’s good news: a trolley strap attached to the back of the bag secures to and sits on top of any Away rolling suitcase. Exterior webbing daisy chains also attach F.A.R Pouches, carabiners, water bottles, luggage tags and more.

Hidden mesh pockets woven into the duffle’s inner silhouette provided proper organization for my hygiene products and other smaller belongings, but I did find myself wishing for more pocket storage — perhaps a larger interior one to stow away my shoes or hats, and a zippered one on the exterior for easy access to valuables, phone and wallet.

Overall though, I’m quite pleased with the functionality and sleek look of the F.A.R Duffle. Delta didn’t even blink an eye as I carried mine into the cabin and finagled it into the overhead bin.

man holding an away messenger bag


man holding away duffle sitting on a side of a cliff


Away’s F.A.R Messenger 16L is built for the coffee shop, as well as the trail

This 16L messenger bag is undoubtedly stylish and resourceful, especially for those hoping to pack their laptop/notebooks and head to the coffee shop to get some work done. But how does it perform getting a little roughed up and dirty in nature? I tested mine while horseback riding, practicing archery, hiking off-trails, RTVing and even paddleboarding.

I was pleased to find that even on an inflatable SUP in the middle of a lake, and flooring it through muddy terrain in an open RTV, the high-strength recycled polyester is both water- and abrasion-resistant. I realized when I unzipped my bag during my outing that I hadn’t fully twisted the cap back on my water bottle stored inside. The bottle, now empty, may have created a mini pool within the lining and soaked all my items inside, but I was impressed to see the water had not actually soaked through to the exterior of the bag or dripped out of the tight seaming. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend “testing” out the water-resistant promise in reverse like I did, but it did live up to the hype.

Used to carrying a traditional backpack for these types of outdoor activities, I was wary of the one-shoulder, hanging nature of the messenger. While it only posed a little awkward trotting uphill/downhill on the back of a horse or trekking through the forest, it really wasn’t terribly cumbersome — especially with the adjustable crossbody strap to shorten it for my smaller mid-section and sitting position while riding.

I did miss having more easy-access pockets to organize/store my EDC essentials, compared to other day trip bags I own. Besides the laptop sleeve inside, there are no zippers or pockets to stash away your small but vital, items like wallet and keys, or to provide quick and easy access to items like your phone or sunglasses. The solution? Accessorize with F.A.R Organizational Cubes — made from recycled ripstop nylon and designed with side handles and clips to attach to the exterior daisy chains of F.A.R’s bags.

The cherry on top? Back home in flatland Florida post-adventure, I can still use the F.A.R Messenger to transport my 15-inch laptop to the coffee shop.

person holding away travel bags


someone sitting on a dock packing an away duffel


More Bags In The Collection To Check Out

F.A.R Convertible Backpack 45L

The F.A.R Convertible Backpack 45L is another versatile travel option, built for multi-day camping trips, backpacking new cities or wherever your intrepid adventures take you. Whether road tripping the California coastline, island-hopping the Caribbean or making a quick escape to a local park, this adaptable backpack is a solid companion to take you there.

The F.A.R Tote 45L is ideal for a beach or day trip — whether chasing the swell down the Baja peninsula or setting up a cozy spot to picnic on the shores of Cape Cod. Beyond the ability to hold a range of EDC essentials, the adjustable shoulder straps allow for multiple ways for carry while plenty of pockets make it easy to get outside with everything you need in tow.

The Wrap Up

Whatever being in the outside world means to you — from the extreme to the most laidback— I’d encourage you to simply get out there before the summer’s over. Find a far-enough route (it doesn’t even have to be Europe) and bring at least one of these bags.

F.A.R – For All Routes is available exclusively on Awaytravel’s own site and in Away’s 13 retail locations across the US, UK and Canada.

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